STEPHEN Holmes has lived in Vancouver, Canada for more than 50 years now.
He and his parents lived in Green Street, off Viaduct Street, Huddersfield, and his mother worked at Newton’s Garage on the street corner.
The garage and the house are now gone, swallowed by the ring road development.
But Stephen till remembers a sunny August day in 1955, one year before he emigrated, when he and a school pal ‘discovered’ Robin Hood’s grave.
He and Gerald Pilkinton were aged 13 and on a summer holidays cycle ride along Leeds Road towards Mirfield. They decided to turn on to a quieter road and climbed over a wall to eat their sandwiches.
“After a short rest we decided to explore what the forest beyond might offer. We encountered a challenging terrain with hills and gullies at every step, but being 13-year-olds we weren’t bothered,” said Stephen.
“Gerry suggested that we turn back and I agreed, but not until we had finished climbing the hill before us. Reaching the top we were halted by a wooden fence and a short distance away was a posted sign indicating that this was private property with no trespassing, but when did a sign ever stop two lads hungry for adventure?
“Gerry and I entered the low hanging grove of vegetation not knowing just what to expect.
“There before us was a grave and surrounding it was an old stone wall about 3ft high. On top of the wall was an iron railing fence that appeared to protect the inner portion. There were small columns of sculptured stone at each corner, but some had fallen to the ground.
“Gerry and I cautiously approached the grave and at its head was a very old large slab of stone.
“The inscription on it was difficult to read being in old medieval English, but we were able to read that under the stone was Robert, Earl of Huntington, outlaw.
“We stood frozen and mesmerised as our imaginations ran amok.
“Then fear of being caught at this place quickly took over so we departed the site swearing never to tell a living soul of our discovery.
“I have now lived in Canada for more than 50 years and just a few short years ago I was once again able to contact my old school pal Gerald Pilkinton and we have often reminisced about the time we discovered Robin Hood’s grave.
“With the acquisition of a computer and the assistance of the internet I was able to locate the relevant Robin Hood site which confirmed our discovery some 50 years ago.”
The site is on the private estate of what was, from the 1600s, the Armytage family.
The grave, however, is mock-mediaeval, having been set there in 1850 by the then landowner George Armytage.
The inscription translates as:
Here underneath this little stone
Lies Robert, earl of Huntington.
Never was there archer as he so good
And people called him Robin Hood.
Such outlaws as he and his men
Will England never see again.
Died 24th kalendris, December 1247
The grave was excavated in 1607, but nothing was found.